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Breakthrough COVID cases on the rise in Arizona

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 9:12 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The number of breakthrough COVID-19 cases in Arizona is increasing as a percentage of the overall new cases.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, 11% of the new COVID cases in July were breakthrough cases.

A breakthrough case is where a person who is fully vaccinated still comes down with the disease.

In May, 5% of the cases were breakthrough and in June it was 8%.

The state health department says the efficacy of Pfizer and Moderna is about 90%, so the numbers are not unexpected even though the percentage of cases is rising.

The department also points out a breakthrough case is much less serious than it is for people who are unvaccinated who still make up a preponderance of the cases.

The concern in Pima County is the number of cases is rising overall and not just among breakthroughs.

According to the state dashboard, there were 280 cases reported yesterday making it the highest number since February 9, 2021.

Some of that can be attributed to the reopening of in person learning in Tucson’s schools.

According to the county’s new data dashboard of not just school districts but individual schools. it shows the Vail Unified School District has nearly 70 active cases among students and staff. The Marana Unified School District has 53 active cases..

The county health department has reported there are now 212 active school COVID-19 cases in less than two weeks and the largest school districts have just opened their doors..

With all school districts now open in Pima County, the health department sent a letter to remind districts that it’s a violation of state statutes to not report individual cases and outbreaks. Anyone not doing so could be charged with a class three misdemeanor.

With the fast moving Delta variant now responsible for a majority of cases statewide, it’s imperative the county says to keep the numbers up to date in case there is a need to invoke new mitigation strategies quickly as the Tucson Unified School District has done with its mask mandate which is passed this week.

The concern is the county moved from moderate to substantial transmission in only a weeks time in July and a worst scenario could be on the horizon..

“If we continue to see the increase that we have seen in the last week, our case load, it’s very possible we could get to high transmission,” said Dr. Theresa Cullen, the Pima County Health Director.

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